---President Barack Obama
I just finished reading the full speech that our President made on Cuban soil this week. I know that his visit to Cuba brought about many mixed feelings, but his message was a strong one for us all to heed. We don't have to give up our values in order to work with people who have different values, as long as we are all working for a common good. At this point in our history, that common good would include a peaceful (terror-free) world where we respect our environment and the rights of ALL people.
This is not an impossible dream in our country. Throughout our history, radical groups have hijacked our political system, but we have always found our way back to business as usual. Although the radical right and left speak loudest during current times, most of America wants to find compromise. We are well aware of the dangers that we face from factions outside our country and can only succeed in conquering these terrorists if we face them as a united front.
Like many Americans, I have had sleepless nights empathizing with the attacks that took the lives of innocent people in Paris and Brussels. We, in the United States, feel their pain and need to find a way to work together and conquer this insanity. We need to do it without finding scapegoats to carry a burden they do not deserve. We need to do it without making citizens and legitimate visitors to our country feel like they must prove their allegiance every day. We need to do it by acting like a family that although populated with people who have different ideas, will always put aside their differences and face their foes together. Our President, like our mother/father, may not always be doing what we feel is right, but in a time of crisis we must stand by him and hope his knowledge of things we are not privy to is leading him to make the correct decisions. The end result might not be our choice, but one thing is clear... In a time of danger, we certainly can't be obstructionists and expect a positive outcome.
Speaking of other countries and customs, the book Hold Still by Tim Adler took place in a country whose ways were foreign to me. I love reading about other countries and customs, and Albania proved an interesting setting. The book grabbed my attention immediately (imagining accidentally photographing the moment of your spouse's death) and never let go. This book with its unusual premise is definitely worth reading.
There may be no death in Steve Dublanica's tale of the life of a server, but Waiter Rant is certainly an eye opener for those of us who enjoy eating in restaurants and are often frustrated with the service. The author shares his frustrations with those he serves as well as those he works with (and for) so well, that you might begin to feel a bit of sympathy, instead of disdain for your server the next time your water glass isn't immediately refilled.
As always, complete reviews of these books follow this blog.